Bangladesh fight for survival against in-form Sri Lanka

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan at the airport after the arrived in Colombo from Lahore on Thursday
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Bangladesh will be fighting to keep their hopes of playing the final alive when they take on Sri Lanka in their second match of the Super 4 in the 2023 Asia Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday.

The match will begin at 3:30 pm and will be televised live by T Sports and GTV.

After losing against Pakistan by seven wickets in their first match of the Super 4, Bangladesh find themselves in a must-win situation against Sri Lanka.

If the Tigers lose to the Lankans, like they did in the group-stage encounter, they will be out of contention from the final and their final Super 4 match against India on 15 September will turn into a formality.

To keep their dreams of playing the final alive, Bangladesh will have to end a 12-match winning streak of the Lankans.

Sri Lanka are currently on a roll in ODIs, having won 12 matches on the trot and are one win away from having the second longest winning streak in ODIs.

Sri Lanka's coach Chris Silverwood speaks during a press conference at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on 8 September 2023, on the eve of their Asia Cup super four cricket match against Bangladesh

Sri Lanka’s streak nearly ended in their last game, when they scraped past Afghanistan by two runs in a memorable match which will always be remembered for the mathematical gaffe done by the Afghan camp.

Earlier, Bangladesh began their Asia Cup campaign against Sri Lanka in a low-scoring match which they lost by five wickets.

Batting first, the Tigers got bundled out for a mere 164. The Bangladesh bowlers did well to take five Sri Lankan wickets but in the end they didn’t have enough runs on board to defend.

After the abysmal batting display against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh bounced back against Afghanistan in Lahore, thanks to centuries from Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto and posted their highest ever total in Asia Cup, 324.

But a couple of days later, Bangladesh batters meekly surrendered at the same venue against the lethal Pakistani pace attack and got bundled out for 193 in 38.4 overs.

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After the batting failure against Pakistan, a few changes are on the cards for Bangladesh.

Opener Mohammad Naim got a start in all three matches but couldn’t make it big, getting dismissed for 20, 28 and 20.

Miraz, after a brilliant century against Afghanistan, got out for a golden duck against Sri Lanka.

With Litton back and two more openers in Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Anamul Haque, a change in the opening slot is likely to happen.

Bangladesh's coach Chandika Hathurusingha speaks during a press conference at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on 8 September 2023, on the eve of their Asia Cup super four cricket match against Sri Lanka

Shamim Hossain and Afif Hossain failed to come up with the goods in the lower middle order against Pakistan. Both of them are at risk of getting dropped from the playing XI, with Bangladesh opting for a specialist spinner in Nasum Ahmed and dropping Miraz back down to No.7.

Mustafizur Rahman played in the tournament opener against Sri Lanka but sat out both matches in Lahore.

Now with the tournament returning to Sri Lanka, Mustafiz could be making a return to the XI. In that case, Hasan Mahmud might lose his place.

Rain is in the forecast in Colombo on Saturday and throughout next week. There is a good chance that rain will interrupt the match or even completely wash it out, much like the India-Pakistan clash in the group-stage.